The Lanka Academic

MARCH 20, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 348

F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
JVP alleges politicians are giving government land to friends.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2018 SLT 20.03.2001. The JVP has asked for an adjournment time debate on the alleged attempts by politicians to give to their friends land that has been cleared after the Urban Development Authority (UDA) began a campaign to demolish unauthorized buildings in cities. The JVP says thousands of poor people have lost their lively good when these unauthorized structures were demolished but now government politicians were giving these lands to their friends at extremely low rents. end
Published: Tue Mar 20 09:26:10 EST 2001

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Hindu group to build Afghan Buddha replica in India
yahoo, march 20. A Hindu cultural organisation said on Tuesday that it would build replicas in India of two ancient Buddhist statues destroyed by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers earlier this month.Sanskar Bharati, an affiliate of the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has zeroed in on a site in India's northern state of Himachal Pradesh to carve out the statues, said Amir Chand, an senior Sanskar Bharati official. More...
Published: Tue Mar 20 15:16:21 EST 2001 Back to the top

President appoints committee to amend the bribery act
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1317 SLT 20.03.2001. President Kumaratunga has appointed a three member committee to amend the bribery and corruption act to make it more effective. The Committee under Justice Minister Batty Weerakoon will finalise the amendments, The Independent Commission on Bribery and Corruption set up in 1994 has proved to be ineffective with none of those accused of bribery and corruption in media exposes been prosecuted end
Published: Tue Mar 20 02:40:22 EST 2001 Back to the top

Urge Sri Lanka to Probe Nimalarajan Murder- RSF Writes to EU Leaders
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 20/03/01 1730 GMT. International Media Campaign Group Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) has requested European leaders to request Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga to investigate the assassination of journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan. The Lanka Academic understands that while President Kumaratunga is on a European tour, RSF has brought to the attention of both the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and Romano Prodi, President of the European Union to intervene with her for a thorough investigation to identify the assassins.

Both letters were made available before the Sri Lankan presidents arrival for official discussions. The RSF suggests that the aim of her visit was to raise the question of European economic aid to Sri Lanka as the country's budget has a big deficit. The RSF letter, signed by Secretary General Robert Menard, also requests Mr. Prodi to raise the matter of protecting the freedom of the press and the journalists of the island nation.

"Soon after his assassination, the President personally condemned that act and promised that investigations will be launched by the security services. Since then no inquiry has been initiated. It seems important for us that the conditions for this aid are improvement in the situation of human rights and notably a real effort by the government in Colombo to put an end to the impunity for the assassins of Maylvaganam Nimalarajan.

Also, we ask you to intervene with the President so that a thorough investigation be ordered without any delay in identifying the assassins of the journalist. We equally demand you to remind the President that certain emergency laws in the country are in contradiction with the international obligations of Sri Lanka with regard to Human Rights" the letter also states.
Published: Tue Mar 20 12:33:32 EST 2001 Back to the top

Parliament select committee to decide on system for local government elections
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2015 SLT 20.03.2001. A Parliamentary select committee is to be appointed to workout a new local government election system. The Local Government Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake has proposed the setting up of the select committee after the government said it wanted the current proportional representation system changed. The government has proposed the earlier ward system for the local government elections
Published: Tue Mar 20 09:26:09 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka steps up anti-Tiger attacks, Mar 20 2001 15:31 IST. Security forces have stepped up attacks against Tamil Tiger guerrillas in northern Sri Lanka and killed another five rebels, the defence ministry said Tuesday. Government troops clashed with a group of rebels from the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Nagarkovil on Monday evening and killed five of them, the ministry said. More...
Published: Tue Mar 20 09:05:20 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka troops smash Tiger bunkers: military  -

Sri Lanka seeks cricketing tourists
BBC South Asia, Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 13:08 GMT . Sri Lanka is planning to use the internet and the game of cricket in a new strategy to attract more tourists to the tropical island. The new chairman of the Tourist Board Renton De Alwis is quoted as saying that newspaper advertising would be scrapped, and a personalised approach would be tried through the internet. More...
Published: Tue Mar 20 10:01:14 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Sri Lanka seeks to regain lost paradise with battle in the sky  -

Lawyer, businessman held for links with LTTE
Times of India (Breaking News), 20 March 2001 . A lawyer and a businessman from Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka have been arrested for suspected links with LTTE cadres manning a safehouse that was busted in a Colombo suburb last week, police said.Five LTTE militants, including a woman, who were arrested at the safehouse at suburban Dehiwala, had told the police during interrogation that a lawyer and a businessman from Batticaloa had helped them in bringing explosives from the east to their den, police said. More...
Published: Tue Mar 20 09:06:20 EST 2001 Back to the top

Trial of Tamil rebel leader continues in Lanka
Times of India, 20 March 2001 . A senior police official told a court on Monday how police captured two suspects blamed of involvement in the 1996 bombing of Sri Lanka's Central Bank.Tamil rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is the principal accused in the murder trial, where a conviction could reduce the chances of face-to-face peace talks with the illusive leader of the 17-year civil war.If convicted under Sri Lankan law, Prabhakaran, who is also wanted for the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, could face a death sentence or a commuted life sentence. Sri Lanka does not carry out executions. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:33:54 EST 2001 Back to the top

32 Tiger suspects arrested at Peliyagoda
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 a.m. SLT Monday March 19. The Peliyagoda police said today that a cordon and search operation conducted last night at 7 p.m. rounded up some 32 Tamils suspected to be affiliated with the LTTE. Arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the police had used some 75 personnel to conduct the operation which lasted two hours.

The Tamil men and women were rounded up in the areas of Biyagama, Kiribathgoda and Peliyagoda. They are all currently being detained at the Peliyagoda police station for further questioning.
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:13:29 EST 2001 Back to the top

India has no objections to LTTE-Lanka pact: Solheim
yahoo, march 18. Norwegian special envoy Erik Solheim has said India is "fully supportive and appreciative" of the Oslo-brokered Lankan peace efforts, effectively putting at rest the recent media reports that New Delhi is impeding the peace talks. "They are all rumours. There has been no such objection from India, which is fully supportive and appreciative of my efforts" Solheim said in an exclusive interview from Oslo to the London representative of independent Tamil daily, 'Thinakkural', published in its edition on Sunday. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 09:06:56 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Solheim says India has no objection to LTTE-Lankan peace pact  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

Threat to livestock in Sri Lanka minimal
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Monday March 19. The Ministry for Livestock Development and Estate Infrastructure said today that the threat of the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease entering Sri Lanka is minimal. The ministry said it was taking every precaution to prevent the disease from being brought into the country and that all visitors from the UK would be throughly screened at the Bandaranaike International Airport before being allowed to enter the city. Any food stuffs they may carry which originate from animals would also be destroyed. The ministry asserts it is determined to prevent the outbreak of a plague imported by human carelessness.
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:13:28 EST 2001 Back to the top

India's DMK party to protest against Lankan Navy
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.15 a.m. SLT Monday March 15. India's DMK party is to hold a protest demonstration outside the deputy Sri Lankan mission tomorrow against the arbitrary attack on Indian fishermen. The youth wing of the DMK maintain that the Lankan Navy shot dead an Indian fisherman and seriously wounded two others last week. The DMK say that the Lankan Navy are acting irresponsibly and totally without conscious and that the shooting could not have been a case of mistaken identity for Tamil rebels.

The Sri Lanka Navy admitted last week that it had by accident killed one Indian fisherman and wounded two when the trawler fishing boat they were in had allegedly strayed into Lanka's northern territorial waters.
Published: Mon Mar 19 21:13:28 EST 2001 Back to the top

24 Journalists killed; 81 Imprisoned Last Year- CPJ
Saroj Pathirana in London, Monday 19/03/01 2000 GMT. New York based media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) today reported that 24 journalists were killed because of their work in 2000. Another 81 were in prison at year's end. In its annual accounting of press freedom conditions around the world, the CPJ documents more than 600 cases of media repression in 131 countries, including assassination, assault, imprisonment, censorship, and bureaucratic harassment.

Of the 24 journalists killed for their work in 2000, at least 16 were murdered. BBC journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan is one of them. "On the night of October 19, a group of unidentified gunmen shot and killed Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, a journalist based in the northern Jaffna peninsula who reported for various news organizations, including the BBC's Tamil- and Sinhala-language services. Nimalarajan was one of the few sources of independent news from Jaffna, a strife-torn area where journalists have rarely been allowed free access. CPJ sources suspected that Nimalarajan's reporting on vote-rigging and intimidation during the recent parliamentary elections in Jaffna led to his murder" the report says.

"Outrageous abuses of the media continue, as governments achieve their repressive goals with more sophisticated techniques of harassment," said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. The 500 page CPJ report also carries the following observations on Sri Lanka.

"President Kumaratunga started the year with a three-hour marathon interview on state television in which she launched a bitter, intensely personal diatribe at the private media. Among those singled out for special condemnation were Victor Ivan, editor of the Sinhala-language tabloid Ravaya, and Lasantha Wickrematunga, editor of the English-language paper The Sunday Leader."

The report also mentions state media’s tactics to accuse journalists of "maintaining secret connections with the LTTE." They were P.Seevagan, who reports for the BBC's Tamil service, Roy Dinesh, defence correspondent for The Sunday Leader; Saman Wagaarachchi, editor of the Irida Peramuna; and D. Sivaram (alias "Taraki"), an outspoken free-lance columnist. Bomb explosion at the home of Nellai Nadesan, a Batticaloa-based columnist for Virakesari, delays in prosecution of two air force officers who were indicted on charges of unlawful entry, criminal trespass, and criminal intimidation to Iqbal Athas, and dismissal by the court of Appeal an appliction by Sunday Times editor Sinha Ratnatunga, who in 1997 was sentenced to 18 months in prison for criminal defamation are recorded cases of repression by the CPJ.
Published: Mon Mar 19 15:08:34 EST 2001 Back to the top

Kumaratunga criticized for new luxury residence
India Abroad, march 12. Sri Lankas President Chandrika Kumaratunga has come in for sharp criticism from the opposition over the construction of a multimillion rupee luxury official residence using public funds.The main opposition United National Party (UNP) said it was a "sin" that Rs.600 million were being spent on the presidential palace when citizens were asked to tighten their belts. "Nobody would raise a whimper of protest if the president builds a palace for herself from her personal funds," a UNP statement said. "The crime is the construction of a super luxury presidential palace with such a huge amount of public funds at a time when the country and the people are struggling to survive in a very adverse economic environment created by the government itself," it stated.The residential complex coming up at Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the country's administrative capital where the legislature is located, will have ballrooms, banquet halls, a swimming pool and stables, the UNP charged. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 08:58:38 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Opposition slams multi-million mansion for Sri Lankan president  - Yahoo

Ancient Afghanistan, smuggled in pieces
Christian Science Monitor, march 20. Across the border in Afghanistan, the Taliban government has destroyed every Buddha it can get its hands on, images it considers idolatrous. Demolition of the massive standing Buddhas of Bamiyan, confirmed by dramatic photographs last week, sent a shock wave through academic and religious circles as these icons of the Afghan Buddhist civilization were consigned to dust. But in Naseer Ahmed's shop in Peshawar's antiques market, relics are still trickling in and finding refuge. Like the displaced Afghans who bring them, Afghanistan's endangered Buddhist and Hellenic statues are coming to Pakistan for shelter and safety - and to be sold. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 16:56:12 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
TV footage shows Taliban destroying Buddha statue  - yahoo

Thondaman's heir comes of age
The Hindu (International), Tuesday, March 20, 2001. COLOMBO, MARCH 19. The agitation in Sri Lanka's tea estates which ended last week in a wage hike for the labourers, has helped the leader of the largest trade union-cum-political party representing the tea workers, Mr. Armugham Thondaman, finally win his political spurs, his supporters said. But political rivals are describing the settlement as ``too little, too late'' and the political mileage Mr. Thondaman might have gained out of this as ``a temporary phenomenon''. Shedding his image of a rake and wastrel who spent more time in Chennai and Singapore than with his constituents, Mr. Thondaman recently staged a 25-day satyagraha at Hatton near Nuwara Eliya in central Sri Lanka, demanding an increase in workers' wages by Rs. 400 ($4.7) a month. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 15:51:23 EST 2001 Back to the top

Kazakhs deport more Sri Lankans on way to Germany
MSNBC, March 19 . Four Sri Lankans who authorities said had hoped to reach Germany have been deported from a city in Kazakhstan that they thought was Moscow, police said on Monday.Kazakh police said the four were arrested without documents during the weekend as they entered Pavloda More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 09:02:14 EST 2001 Back to the top
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Second group of Sri Lankan migrants abandoned in Kazakhstan  -

Sweden funds academic network infrastructure for Lankan universities
CDN, march 19. Local universities will soon be infused with a new level of electronic infrastructure that will put them on par with international network connectivity standards. During the years, 1999 and 2000, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) funded the installation of a high-speed academic and research network infrastructure in Sri Lanka for the benefit of university students, academics and researchers. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 14:03:37 EST 2001 Back to the top

Tigers plot to kill Tamil minister: Lankan police
India Abroad, March 19, 2001 14:40 Hrs (IST) . Tiger rebel suspect has told Sri Lankan police that he was sent on a mission to help carry out a suicide bomb attack on a Tamil minister, press reports said Monday. Joseph Selvaraj, arrested in September on suspicion of being a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), said he had instructions to infiltrate Estate Infrastructure Minister Arumugam Thondaman's household and get details of his movements. More...
Published: Mon Mar 19 09:03:25 EST 2001 Back to the top

President's Fund: they get millions
Sunday Times, March 18. Payments have been made from the President's Fund to meet the medical and funeral expenses of Government and Opposition parliamentarians, it was revealed in parliament.The President's Fund which was initially set up to help the deserving public had disbursed funds amounting to nearly Rs. 15 million since the PA government came into office in 1994 and among the beneficiaries were parliamentarians, according to documents tabled by Government Chief Whip Richard Pathrana in response to a question raised by UNP Assistant Leader Gamini Athukorale. More...
Published: Tue Mar 20 10:34:54 EST 2001 Back to the top

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